An ultrasound thyroid fine needle aspiration (FNA) or biopsy is a procedure used to collect cells from a thyroid nodule for testing. The biopsy is sent to a lab to determine whether the cells are benign or malignant.

At The Polyclinic, we use ultrasound to guide the needle into the nodule. Your doctor determines the need for a biopsy based on the characteristics and size of the nodule seen during an ultrasound.

What should I expect during my thyroid FNA ultrasound?

The sonographer will walk you through the entire process before the procedure begins. You will lie on your back with a cushion placed under your shoulders to extend your head back. A brief ultrasound study will be performed to set up the machine and determine the location of the thyroid nodule. The specially trained radiologist will mark the best spot to access the nodule.

We will clean your skin with surgical soap and apply a local anesthetic to numb the skin.

Next, we take six samples of the nodule with fine gauge needles, which are thinner than needles used for general blood draws. We clean the skin, apply a bandage and give you an icepack for any soreness or swelling. The samples are sent to the lab for review.

How do I prepare for my thyroid FNA ultrasound?

  • A prior ultrasound should be on file within the last three months.
  • It is a good idea to eat and drink something before your scheduled biopsy time.
  • You should not be on blood thinners including vitamin E and aspirin for one week prior to your biopsy. This should be discussed with your prescribing doctor before discontinuing your medications.
  • Wear a two piece comfortable outfit the day of your procedure.

How do I schedule my thyroid FNA ultrasound?

You can schedule your thyroid FNA with an order from a physician by calling the Diagnostic Imaging department at 206-860-5496, option 2.